January 4th is celebrated around the world as Trivia Day, a day when all the geeks, Ken Jennings fans, and lovers of random facts gather in the streets, get rip-roaringly wasted on super-caffeinated espressos, and share their love of useless knowledge. Okay, maybe it isn’t that grand and exciting, but hey, it’s still a holiday according to the Internet, and the Internet is always right!
Being that there is a wide, vast ocean of trivia out there and it would be hard to narrow this post down to a reasonable length without picking an actual subject, I thought I’d go with January, in a dual celebration of Trivia Day and National Write the Wrong Year on Your Check Month. Hey, I have a full editorial calender, I need to merge something somewhere. So enjoy these totally random trivia facts about January. Who knows, they could help you become the next Ken Jennings!
Random Trivia Facts About January
- January was named after the Roman god Janus, who ruled over beginning and transitions. He’s a bit two-faced…literally. He’s often depicted as having two faces- one that looks forward and one that looks to the past. Kind of poetic, right?
- January’s birthstone is the beautiful red garnet. It is said that garnet represents balance, which is definitely something we all need after the crazy busy month of December.
- The Dianthus caryophyllus is one of two flowers recognizes as the official birth-month flower. It comes in many beautiful colors, and is the ancestor to the Carnation. In fact, most people just call it a Carnation now. Fancier Latin names are always prettier, though!
- While donating blood is important every month, January has the pleasure of being National Donate Blood month, so get out to your nearest Red Cross donation site and give the gift of life.
- Although global warming and climate changes may have bumped it out of first place in recent years, if you look at the average temperatures over all the years on record, January is considered the coldest month in the Northern hemisphere. Not in the southern, though, where Australians are currently wearing bikinis and taking their family photos on the beach.
Ten Famous People (that I’ve actually heard of) Born in January
- Danica McKellar (from the Wonder Years)
- Michael Stipe
- Nicolas Cage
- Katie Couric
- Frank Sinatra
- Patrick Dempsey
- Orlando Bloom
- LL Cool J
- Michelle Obama
- David Lynch
Ten Historical Figures Born in January
- Paul Revere, 1735
- Betsy Ross, 1752
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882
- President William McKinley, 1843
- Edgar Allen Poe, 1809
- James Madison Randolph, first child born in the White House, 1806
- Martin Luther King Jr. , 1929
- President Richard M. Nixon, 1913
- President Milliard Fillmore (who?), 1800
- First Lady Helen Taft, 1861
Major Historical Events in January
- 45 BC- Julian Calender takes effect
- 1547- Henry VIII died.
- 1789- First US Presidential Election held.
- 1848- Gold was discovered in California. Eureka! Thar’s gold in them thar hills!
- 1863- Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.
- 1865- The 13th Amendment abolished slavery.
- 1912- New Mexico becomes part of the United States
- 1914- Henry Ford introduces his assembly line.
- 1933- The Holocaust began.
- 1959- Alaska entered the Union.
- 1967- First Super Bowl held. Should also count as the first preempting of shows I actually like to watch by a sport that should be contained to one of the 2,000 sports-only channels now offered by cable television.
- 1973- The Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade Decision.
- 1986- The Challenger exploded. I remember this one, I was in 6th grade at the time!
This is far from an exhaustive list. If you want more facts about historical events in January, or any other month, I used History Orb as a source. They are insanely thorough!